Saturday, June 30, 2012

In Trying To Sleep, A Learning Curve Steep

Nature often knows best. It doesn't know best about everything, as we have certainly improved upon it in some areas. Also, I would hate to see it develop a big ego, so it's best to be measured in issuing praise, but it often does know best. One thing that happens well naturally is sleep. When it's dark, it's a whole lot easier to sleep than to continue on with waking activities, and it's naturally easier to do the reverse when it's light out.

If you sleep when it's easy to sleep and stay away when that's easier, you're bound to be well-rested and productive. Unfortunately, someone had to go and invent both shelter and artificial lighting. We've been messed up and muddling along ever since then, and no one has the nerve to suggest we go back. I'm no different than the rest. I have a terrible sleep cycle, because it's all too easy to go against the natural way now.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Do It And Learn

There's just no telling some people some things. They won't accept them- won't believe them. Very young people are apt to be like this, and moderately young people like myself are all too often (or perhaps that is just me). It is necessary to experience many things for oneself, and it is truly doing a disservice to try intervening in an effort to prevent that. I'm content now to allow people the opportunity to find things out the painful way.

I myself go through that plenty. There was the film "Sucker Punch", which I knew from many reviews was likely to be terrible. I was convinced that there must be something to it that would make it worth watching. I thought that at the very least there would be some spectacle or titillation that would justify the time invested, but there was not. I might have even been told that there was not, but I had to find out anyway.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sized To Please

As I've said, I appreciate a good spectacle. There was that band that made a lot of noise and knocked things over, and I liked that. I won't put style over substance, but I will put that over substance sometimes. Where there's something big or loud or dangerous, I'm going to want that. I can hardly be alone in that. Who doesn't want the sizzling platter to sizzle on someone, or the warning about the hot plate to be ignored?

There's a surprising amount of spectacle in food, those potential accidents aside. Some places make a show of the preparation, and some places offer ridiculous things that no one will order simply for the attention it draws. There are, of course, spectacular things that are for ordering. A good example would be the exceptionally large pizzas at a local chain. I assume that people mostly order the regularly-sized ones, but then there are their other sizes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not Too Soon, But Too Many

I used to faithfully report to my father the deaths of famous people which were reported in the newspaper every day. I would invariably be scandalized by what seemed like a callous response of "Don't know him" when I would ask why he didn't care more. I have fallen in line with his viewpoint, as I suppose anyone ought to have expected that I would. It turns out though that I am something of an exception, because most people still think like I did then.

Enough people are famous these days that there are going to be a handful of notable deaths (although I suppose the more there are the less notable each is) every day. Over the course of a week or two, there are going to be a handful that really are significant, at least within the context of celebrity deaths. I see that many people are content to devote a good amount of time to mourning these people, and I just don't get it anymore.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Kind Of Teamwork

Writing with someone is an odd experience. That must sound funny, considering my burgeoning enthusiasm for human contact and social interaction. I value work that lets me be with people, and there is some of that in writing, but I don't find that it works so well in the main phase of the process. It always sounds funny to me with someone talks about their joint efforts with a writing partner, because it doesn't seem like it's that kind of an endeavor.

I'll enjoy the process of trying to generate ideas with someone, and I depend upon the fresh perspective of an outsider when I emerge from solitary writing with something completed, but that part in the middle feels like it has got to be me alone. I have been told of methods by which two people can write together without badly altering the process that I presently employ, but it sound sort of like one person's hands on the wheel and another person's feet on the pedals.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Burial At Sea, I See

We were at the beach again the other day, and something happened to trigger a beach memory from childhood. I don't remember what year it must have been, but I was little. We were at the beach house in Florida, and this was a public beach. That was a sometimes regrettable fact, although often enough it was rather pleasant to have all sorts there. Nobody wants to hear about the times when it was all right though, I'm sure.

One day when we were at the beach, a carload of tourists (who I have to assume were from Ohio or Iowa or some such place) stopped out in front of the house. You could drive onto the beach there, I ought to note. They stopped because there was a dead sea turtle there. The family of tourists proceeded to horse around with and pose for pictures in front of the turtle. We were quietly quite incensed from a distance, but took no direct action.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Smart Play

The time during which I had the least enthusiasm for playing a musical instrument was the time when I had the best opportunities for beginning to learn. This is rather regrettable. I briefly studied the drums, but found no pleasure in the very tedious process of practicing on a pad, with no hopes of leaping ahead to actual music or actual drums any time soon. It was in such a way that my karate career also met an early end, but I have no interest just now in memorializing that. Perhaps it will come later.

I wish dearly now that I had applied myself then, but I suppose that qualities like discipline are not ones that can be summoned with a bell. If I had really gotten on the ball and learned an instrument, I'd have an easier time writing songs, which I do from time to time when no other form of writing seems equal to the task of capturing an idea I have. Some things are right for this sort of writing I'm doing now, some are for scripts, some are for poems, and some have to have music behind them.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Eat Cheap

It's a funny thing that I've noticed, and I may have commented on this in the past. If you take an arbitrary trinket of some kind which is worth little or nothing, it may sell well or not. If you take that same thing, and it is in fact popular to begin with, it will go from being that to provoking utter bedlam. What ordinarily costs four dollars and draws a handful of people to the business will suddenly have people lining up around the block.

This was not exactly the case the other night when my friends and I indulged ourselves in some food from a Chinese food chain. They were giving away something if you had the coupon. I think there was a slight uptick in business, but not much. This was the case where we went and when we went, which was our neighborhood location nearly at closing. That may have led to the anecdotal report of few people showing up for the free item.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Uncle Dogwalker

The neighbors have a dog, and it's the sweetest pit bull you can imagine. Her name is Gretta, and she is dangerous only in the sense that her enthusiasm for new friends sometimes is more powerful than her ability to control her bulky frame. She's just an adorable thing, and it's a real treat when, occasionally, she needs a walk that can't be provided by her loving owners. The kind of unconditional love that you get from a dog is priceless.

I have an ulterior motive. I've always had the idea that women are drawn to a man with a cute pet, or a less-than cute pet who highlights his sense of compassion. It's the sort of thing that softens an otherwise rough around the edges image. I can always use some softening, and so I stroll out with the dog in hopes that a lady who might not give me much of a glance will suddenly see fit to give me a glance and then some. That may be too much to ask.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Style By Force

I have written in the past about people's deep personal interest in what I do with my hair. As I have noted, many call for corn rows. Some wish to see just how big my hair can get if I really apply myself to it. This I indulge from time to time in moments of restlessness. The other thing I fear, believing that it will likely hurt badly. There are other things besides that I am not utterly opposed to trying, particularly at the suggestion of a woman.

Pigtails could be fun. Those are mainly a thing for women, I suppose, but then my hair has always drawn me more into the camp or the fairer sex since I let it grow long. A lot of those I'm fond of have had pigtails, Pippi Longstocking being among them. It would really be something to see me with pigtails, especially if I wore a hat. The hair juts out at the sides as it is, and I might as well make the whole thing a little neater on days where the sun shines in my eyes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I seem to recall there being a good number of citrus trees in many neighborhoods of Phoenix. I guess conditions there are pretty tolerable for oranges and such, although I don't recall that those I ate from trees in residential areas were too tasty. There must have been something wrong with them, or with the soil. Something was no good. It might have been the strain of oranges. If that's it, they ought to eradicate it from the planet.

I remember prickly pear cactus fruit being a lot better. Naturally, some kind of fungus eventually began to attack it just as soon as it was ripe, which is just what you would expect to happen to good things like that back home. Before that started happening, we had some really nice preserves that could be made from something growing in the yard. Nothing else was fruitful around there, although in the neighborhood we'd come from somebody had bananas growing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm On Top

After a bunch of my shirts were ruined in a disastrous wash cycle some time ago (the blame for which fell on faulty deodorant), I embarked on a mission to replenish my supply of shirts. At this same time, I had taken out of circulation any shirt which didn't at least come close to fitting me, or which I could not replace and could not bear to lose. It was quite a turbulent chapter in the annals of my wardrobe history, you may be sure.

I had a real undertaking on my hands, and it goes on now in the hopes that I might exceed the quality and variety of what I had before. It principally involves the purchase of secondhand clothes at local thrift stores. I find that they have there an awful lot of things that cannot be purchased elsewhere at any price, to say nothing of the things that can be purchased elsewhere only at a tremendous and prohibitive price.

Monday, June 18, 2012

She Glows

I was sitting in a club (as it was functioning that night, though usually it is a bar geared towards music and dance performances). I was, at times, dancing along with the others, and drinking my fair share. As is my way though, I sometimes was again the man on the outside looking in on people more adept at all of those things than I. It's funny how you can be doing well for a while, and then suddenly not be. It's something like riding a bull.

During one of those moments when I was dusting myself off, I caught side of a woman who was there as part of the same birthday celebration that I was. We had what is ordinarily the stage sectioned off as a sort of VIP section, and I was sitting a bit away from her with my drink. She was on her phone. I am also accustomed to using my phone as a surrogate for proper socializing during such times, so it was something to see what that looks like.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Trip

The other night, a couple friends and I were driving back home from a birthday celebration at some far-flung dive bar. It was some kind of a party, featuring the birthday girl in an awfully talented band, and there was more beside that to the credit of the evening. In any event, the ride home was a long one, and let's just say that I at least was still very much seized by "the party spirit". It made the ride somewhat more tolerable than it might have been under other circumstances.

The shotgun passenger had out her phone, and was playing songs to supplement what must have been a lackluster playlist on what I gather we now call "terrestrial radio". I was singing along to each one, whether  I was very confident about the lyrics or not. It would be fair to say that my vocal performances were distinguished more by their enthusiasm than by their successful execution. At the best of times, I think I must have a limited vocal range, but these were not the best of times.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mergers & Acquisitions

I come into possession of so many small items that I can't really believe it. They crop up like mad, filling whatever space I live in. If this apartment were twice as big, it would be as full. This is true for anyone, I think. You have to be really dedicated to doing without a lot of things in order to keep yourself to a select few items. There was some kind of challenge about getting down to a hundred items, or somewhere around there. I wouldn't do it.

It's interesting to think about some of the things I've had for a while, and how I got them. The big pillow I have that lets me sit up in bed caught my eye when I was casting about for an idea. I've had it for at least three or so years. When I lived over in LA's Highland Park neighborhood, I made my way to the Goodwill nearest there sometimes. I then had few belongings out here, and much had to be replaced. I found that pillow there and snapped it up.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rolling Along

When I'm on the subway, I generally have something to occupy myself, even if it's a brief ride. If it's going to be short, I'll at least have my music, because that takes up little space in the event that it goes unused. If I expect to be on there for a while, then I'll maybe have a book. That depends a little on whether the book is going to be inconvenient to have on my person when I am off the train. Some places I go are no place for a book.

If I am with friends on the train, then I'll probably leave behind the music as well as the book. After all, it would be impolite to not talk with my friends. If I expect to make the return trip alone, then I'll bring the music anyway. If I forget that I'm making the return trip alone, I'll leave the music behind and be bored during that time. Or, at least, I would be bored if I weren't so inventive in such situations. Recently this very thing happened, and I found something to do.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tour De Town

In the summer, there is an influx of tourists into Los Angeles. There are always some, I suppose, but it's more evident in the summer. The sidewalks of Hollywood are more crowded, or at least the sidewalks on the west end of it are. There may be found the tourist traps and world-renowned landmarks, and there may be seen the big crowds of visitors from elsewhere in America and across the globe. I'm of two minds about them.

Partly I find it to be a rather interesting experience, sharing the city with these people ever so briefly. I don't enjoy their habit of milling about in front of those landmarks and clogging up the sidewalk when I'm trying to go somewhere. On the other hand, the somewhere I'm going might not be a thing without their dollars propping up the local economy. I guess that I have to say that they're a beneficial presence on that basis.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rebels Of A Kind

When watching a true spectacle, there is nothing to be done except to watch intently, because you know that such a thing cannot possibly endure for very long. It transgresses so much of established, civilized behavior that it will die of its own accord even if it is not snuffed out by some external force of justice. When I see such a thing, I am glad to know it will be gone but delight in its presence before that comes to pass.

The other night, I knew I was watching a real spectacle. It was a rock band that was playing before the band I had actually come to see at a nearby venue. The first sign of what was in store came as the band was setting up. The establishment has laws it must abide by to remain a good neighbor to other business and to the people who live there. One law concerns noise, and the band jawed with the guy in charge of the show at length before beginning their set that much later. One member lectured him that "you can't ask for cookies and not allow flour" or some such thing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Sometimes it can be very easy to locate a seat on the subway, but at other times it can be rather difficult. A lot of people ride at peak times, and you can't just sit where there's a single seat unless you're desperate. You have to have some buffer room around you. Well, during these times you'll sometimes see a suspiciously unpopulated subway car, and if you're smart you'll consider that this is so for some reason that you'll discern only after it's too late.

The other day, I was headed somewhere on the train in a hurry. I observed that one half of the car was terribly full, and the other half was rather desolate. I didn't think too hard about why that was until I was halfway through the car on the way to a seat at the far end. That train car smelled fouler than I can adequately describe. I thought at the time that of all the dogs I ever had, this was a more putrid odor than I could attribute to any of them.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Star Has Rose

I've got this bouquet  of flowers that I'm looking at. It was given to me by a friend (of the male persuasion, shockingly) following my performance on Friday. I mentioned them while describing my feelings in the aftermath that night. The friend in question had brought the flowers for some reason, I think. I had the vague idea that they were just to beautify the space for the show, and don't know that there was any premeditation involved.

Upon receiving the flowers, I was pressed into several photographs, the staging of which entailed a lot of directions on how you hold flowers. I never had the opportunity before that I can remember, and so it's natural that I was a little shaky on that. Maybe I was bothered by how they were dripping wet and got on my shirt. I loved getting them, but that was just the beginning of how those flowers have been an inconvenience.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Took A Hike

I haven't done enough hiking since I came to LA, which I must lamentably admit was some four or five years ago. I do hike when I'm with my father, but that is never here in town. Only when friends suggest it do I go along with it, although I do go along enthusiastically enough. Maybe I'm a little bit hiked out, having done as much as I did as a Boy Scout. I can take a little here and there, but somehow most of those excursions with friends do not adequately entice me.

The other day three of us went and hiked somewhere near where the Hollywood sign is, although we did not go straight to it. There's a way of getting closer, but even then you can't get near enough to lay hands on in. In any event, this was a different hike. It was rather brief, and that was all right by me. It was a warm day, and while that's something I'm as used to as the hiking, it's nothing I feel compelled to subject myself to much anymore.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Moment Passes

It's a hell of a thing when you have the opportunity to perform. Most of what I do involves teamwork, and it's a beautiful thing to create something with people- to have that bond with someone. The attention is diffused, though. The audience sees you all, and some of you stand out less than others. In a scripted performance those will always be the same people, but in improv it depends on the prevailing nature of the performers who tends to catch the audience's eye most often.

When you do something that is exclusively your own thing, the audience only sees you and what you've done. That might make for the most intense experience from the perspective of the performer. Just yesterday, I did my one man show, and it was quite a feeling. While onstage, time just flew. I saw the audience, but they might as well have been faces painted on a wall for all that it meant to my brain at that moment. I heard them better, and tried to adjust on the fly a little according to their responses.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Data Storage

I happened to be looking for a couple of things the other day, and that often signifies the end of a period where my room is fairly neat. I hope that doesn't happen this time. Anyway, while I was looking for those things- props from a theater piece which I am performing again this evening- I came upon some other items which I had vaguely wanted to get my hands on again. I mean by that the legal pads which I had gone through in the past and which I had not lost.

As I said the other day, some of them go missing before every page can be used, but I did manage to locate half a dozen legal pads which I did use all the way through and retain after the fact. I wonder if there could be more. I would like to have them as some kind of record. I don't know how useful they would be in that capacity. It will be at the very least an amusing period of time spent going over the pile of them.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

An Unsolicited Peek

There are two things that I do to try to come up with ideas when writing. The first is the more appealing, which is to stimulate myself with a lot of input, the way that Johnny Five did in "Short Circuit". This is the more appealing because it's not boring. It's also the far less effective technique. My brain is far too tied up in what it's taking in to put anything out. Besides, I'm taking stuff in all the time. There's no need to do that by the time I write.

What works is that other method: sensory deprivation. I have to isolate myself from every possible form of external stimuli. Noises are typically harmful, to the point that even music is too much a distraction, let alone anything like a television show whose dialogue would have me too engaged in the story. I try not to get too extreme, but if I'm having a hard time I have to start cutting things out. It's a wonder I write about anything except monastic life.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Better Read

Consulting my archived posts, I find that I last wrote about my disdain for employing quotes back in the fall of 2010. That was a while ago, but not so long ago that I hadn't started to find a somewhat more polished style. I still dislike quotes, so it's maybe not so unreasonable to revisit the subject. When I was younger, I was a big fan, and read them out of Bartlett's. I had the notion that I wished to be the most quoted man since Oscar Wilde. I'm still all right with being quoted, because I think I can make money that way. I have no desire to do the quoting.

On social networks, there once was the terrible scourge of games and people who tried to force you into playing them. There were ones about vampires, werewolves, mafioso and farming. Those are mostly gone now, but in their stead is the more insidious problem of quotes embedded in pictures. I hate that. I hate that words seen over a waterfall or a field of wheat are revered as being wisdom itself. One person spends a couple of minutes reading those words, then divorces them from their context and disseminates them to a lot of people who all agree they're terribly wise words.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Quiet Broken

You wonder how some people live. Just what is the nature of the battle they are fighting? How do they maintain at least a draw every day? You can find some compassion for them, but how is there to be sympathy or empathy without understanding? I begin to think with some people that I have some idea about them, but I'm probably wrong. Other people I'm smart enough to know that I can't even begin to hazard a guess about their nature.

There's not enough information about some people. There are just moments. There was this man I heard out on the street the other night. It was one of those moments where I knew I'm really not like other people. Somehow it occurred to me that nobody else I know would have gone outside to walk around the block after two in the morning after dropping something off in the building's outgoing mail slot. It follows, therefore, that nobody else I know would have been there to hear this man screaming and cursing.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tired Eyes

I'm tired a lot of the time. This is a product of several contributing factors. I sleep less than I ought to, and that of course is due to all the obligations happening in the morning and all the pleasurable recreation happening in the late evening. There also just happen to be a lot of activities that fall into one of those categories or the other. Now, when you're tired, there are a lot of ways that it begins to show. Some are very overt, and some are not so much so.

One way that is obvious enough if you are looking (but which one might well overlook) is in the way the eyes begin to suffer. They get red and may water. They can be puffy (particularly if one is tired and has conjunctivitis), and then there are those bags underneath the eyes. By this point I have those about all the time. I hear that one can ameliorate that with things like cucumber slices and Preparation H. I'm at least prepared to try the cucumber.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Natural Death

I was thinking about office supplies. It's common to project human mortality onto certain inanimate objects, which we call "perishable". I have had to do inventory before, and apart from making me wish that I was dead, it also had me characterizing in my mind certain segments of our supplies as alive or dead. It was things like pens that we would go through a lot of, and it seems natural to me that one would try to ascertain why, as one would ask why a loved one should die in an untimely fashion.

I find that it's exceptionally rare that a pen dies a natural death. I will lose fifty pens before one that ever wrote to begin with suddenly fails to write. I wish that I could figure just how much of a pen I use up on average before it becomes someone else's pen, or before it becomes garbage. With a pencil, you only need a measuring tape to figure it, and that's one reason I like pencils. It's always gratifying to think that an implement lived a long, full life before being cut down.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Suck It Up

I've got these lollipops and mints here at my computer desk. If I were the sort of man who could easily bear throwing things out, I would have thrown them out a long time ago. I can't put a date on when I acquired each one of them, but I can say for the lollipops that I must have bought a couple of years ago or more. They were packaged to promote a movie which came out at least five years ago, but then I figure that lollipops don't spoil. After all, there's nothing real in them.

If I haven't thrown them out but still have them, you must be wondering how it is that I haven't eaten them. The rather obvious answer is that they are not good. Their flavoring is passable, but not exactly as potent as your name brand hard candies. Even worse, the coloring of them tends to stay with you. What I mean by that is that if you eat a blue one, there's blue on your lips and blue on your teeth, and a vigorous effort to remove them by means of toothpaste and mouthwash is apt to yield mixed results. When a man is caught marked by lipstick he is at least know to have achieved something laudable, but the consumption of lollipops is better to keep secret.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Today is what, as a boy, I always regarded as the first day of summer. That must sound odd. You have to understand that I grew up in Arizona, where the changing of the seasons is mostly an academic concern, and at best is something that you bring up during long-distance calls with far-flung loved ones. There in Arizona, it was terribly hot most of the year, becoming pleasant in the winter months. Consequently, I developed a warped sense of things.

I had the notion that spring started with baseball's spring training. We had the Cactus League right in town, and I assumed that it was warming up all over at that time. I knew it wasn't hot everywhere else, but I figured it must not be cold there. Only upon living up north did I discover that snow was still on the ground there at that time. I ought to have guessed that they don't hold spring training down south because they like to travel.